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      This is your public service 1-stop-shop for Alaskan and Canadian Arctic energy commentary, news, history, projects and people. We update it daily for you. It is the most timely and complete northern energy archive anywhere — used by media, academia, government and industry officials throughout the world. Northern Gas Pipelines may be the oldest Alaska blog; we invite readers to name others existing before 2001.  -dh


2009 Archives

From today's, "The Alaska Standard": "Who's 'We'", by NGP Publisher, Dave Harbour

22 September 2009 5:21am

Yesterday, the Standard printed our editorial on OCS.  Today, we offered the comment, below, on citizen propensity to tell gas pipeline and other investors what to do with their money:

Who's "We"?

When to use, "We".


"We" can go out to dinner, buy a car, raise our kids and do many things constrained only by law and our personal finance and judgment.


Pipeline investors can and should do what they wish with their capital, constrained only by law and their financial ability and judgment.


Focus Today On the OCS DEADLINE! We'll get to the gas pipeline news and reports on last week's Oil and Gas Congress later....

21 September 2009 1:25am

 Dear NGP Friends:

(Read down for a 'call to action' that may save your job and our kids' future!)
All Alaskans are thankful for Alaska's 50th Anniversary of statehood this

 year, made possible by the 1957 Swanson River oil and gas discovery.  Therefore, we should also be thankful for Alaska's oil industry and support industry employees whose labors sustain our current quality of life.


We are also celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the very important Joint State/Federal Beaufort Sea Oil and Gas Lease Sale of 1979--the first time Beaufort Sea OCS became available to leasing.  Those of us who witnessed the hearings and sale will never forget the feeling of those events' historical importance!   We should also shout kudos to members of the ALASKA SUPPORT INDUSTRY ALLIANCE, whose pioneering members testified and picketed and otherwise successfully supported that 1979 lease sale.  What a joy it will be to join Alliance members and supporters at the 30th Anniversary Annual Meeting on October 1!
It is hard to imagine what Alaska and America would be--what we would be and where we would be--without Swanson River.  Start with the fact that Alaska would not have become a state in 1959!  Without Statehood, there would have been no Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.  It is an equally awesome task to contemplate Alaska's quality of life and our own circumstances without the safe and bountiful Beaufort Sea oil and gas exploration and development activity which has sustained the life of the Trans Alaska Pipeline since 1979 and will help support a future gas pipeline.
With ANWR's remote prospects, with declining TAPS throughput, with plans for an ANS gas pipeline still years away, Outer Continental Shelf exploration and development stands like a warm but lonely beacon of light in the Arctic night...and a bright economic future for Alaska can create much good fortune down South!
This Monday--today--is the deadline date Secretary Salazar (NGP Photo during 4-09 Anchorage visit)  has set forSecretary Ken Salazar in Anchorage -4-09- by Dave Harbour receipt of comments on the MMS 2010-2015 OCS lease sale plan.  I know most Alaskans--good Americans that we are--have taken advantage of the comment period.  Like you, I've tried to do my part by assisting hundreds of Alaskans in sending in their comments. 
Here is a last reminder to our American readers, that your comment will help in the decision process.  If you haven't already sent in a card or letter, please postmark a short letter or post card Monday indicating your support of an aggressive 2010-2015 oil and gas leasing program.  You can cite benefits that will include: a real stimulus to Alaska's and America's economy, 35,000 annual jobs here and many more indirect jobs nationally with other OCS activity, improved balance of trade position, more energy independence and better national security, and more.... 
Send your postcard or letter to:
Ms. Renee Orr
MMS-MS 4010
381 Elden St.
Herndon, VA 20170-4817
In the first sentence, say you are writing about "2010-2015 Oil and Gas Leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf” and include your name and return address.  


(If you'd like help with your letter, click herehere, or here)
If you wish to email me a copy of or a link to your Monday letter (or, your earlier one), I'll be happy to post it/quote from it on this website.  
Dave Harbour


Monday Is the OCS Comment Deadline! Please Comment!

19 September 2009 12:48pm

 Monday is the OCS Comment Deadline.  Please postmark a card or letter with Monday's 9-21 date on it, or do it the easy way by going right now to one of these Websites:

It Was a Big Oil and Gas Week for Alaska and Northern Canada: Oil & Gas Congress, Mr. Parnell Goes to Washington,

18 September 2009 12:26am


ADN editorializes in support of AGIA process and TransCanada progress.    *     WSJ.  Governor Sean Parnell ( NGP Photo) wants gas projects to merge.     *     ADN, by Erika Boldtad.  In his first trip out of state since he replaced Sarah Palin as Alaska's governor, Sean Parnell urged the Obama administration to consider the state's perspective as it weighs whether to allow oil exploration to go forward in Arctic waters. The Alaska Standard reviews Exxon's gas pipeline position.      *     Yesterday, the Northwest Territories’ Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Bob McLeod (NGP Photo) told the Canada Day Summit in Anchorage that the Alaskan and Mackenzie Gas Projects involve several common factors:  “…U.S. gas supply and demand, climate change policy and politics, ‘consultation’, and a new way of doing business….” (Please check later today and this weekend for coming story, also featuring photos and stories on Paul Wilson, Barrie Robb, and Richard Nerysoo…and more Oil and Gas Congress reports about Kevin Banks, Mark Slaughter, Harold Heinze, Margie Brown, Marie Greene, Jerry Isaac, Roger Marks and Ryan Steen.)

Other Links to this week's excitement: CBC, KTUU, Reuters, Smart Brief

Is the RCA Gas Supply Contract Approval Process Broken?

16 September 2009 10:14pm


Steve Pratt

(NGP Photo)

(Note: your author's earlier views on Cook Inlet Gas pricing.)

The process used by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to approve utility natural gas supply contracts is costly and problematic.  So noted RCA Chairman Bob Pickett in opening remarks at a natural gas pricing technical conference held at the commission today.  Documents from the conference can be found at www.state.ak.us/rca with inquiry reference I-09-007.

(Scroll down for more)


Pierce Compliments Beltrami for Gas Pipeline Push! - Oil and Gas Congress Makes Canadian Press

16 September 2009 5:06am


CBC.  A pipeline along the Alaska Highway has yet to begin actual construction, even after nearly 40 years of discussions about it, but congress chair Dave Harbour said progress is being made.  "A bystander might think that nothing has changed, because there is yet no pipeline," Harbour told CBC News.  "But there are … continuing changing circumstances, and that's what we will be dealing with."  Congress organizers have set aside Thursday for delegates to hear from Canadian delegates, including aboriginal leaders, industry and government officials.  N.W.T. Industry Minister Bob McLeod and Gwich'in Tribal Council president Richard Nerysoo are confirmed to speak.  Premier Dennis Fentie was scheduled to speak at the congress, but officials with the premier's office say he will be touring Yukon communities instead this week.  Representing the Yukon in Anchorage is Brian Love, the territorial government's oil and gas director, who said he will be meeting with his Alaskan counterparts during the event.  Love said he aims to "let them know what we're doing in Canada in terms of getting ready in the Yukon for the project, and to get an update from the Alaska state officials on what they're doing and how we can work co-operatively on the project.  "Harbour said governments may hear from industry delegates that they're not working hard or fast enough on getting the Alaska pipeline off the ground.  "We're seeing the frustration level with bureaucracy rise to the level that it may provide a good catalytic effect on moving the project off of high centre," he said.


At yesterday's Alaska Oil and Gas Congress the Alaska Gas Pipeline Federal Coordinator, Drue Pearce, called Alaska AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami her new, "BFF" (Best Friend Forever), following his Alaska Gas Pipeline speech to the National Convention yesterday.  Your NGP Publisher is involved with the conference again today and will have more reports later this week.... Meanwhile...scroll down for more!

Reuters Coverage.  KTUU Video, by Jason Moore.  At the fifth annual Alaska Oil and Gas Congress Tuesday, the two competing projects to build a pipeline from the North Slope to Alberta presented progress reports.  First up: TransCanada's vice president of Alaska Development Tony Palmer.  The company that won the state's Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) license has since teamed with Exxon Mobil to pursue the pipeline.  But Palmer was not afraid to say he would like two other key companies to come on board.  "Both companies -- TransCanada and Exxon Mobil -- seek broader alignment with other key stakeholders such as BP and ConocoPhillips and any other key stakeholders to make this project a success," Palmer said.  But BP and ConocoPhillips continue to push forward with their own plan known as Denali, the Alaska Gas Pipeline.  Speaking for Denali was vice president Kris Fuhr, who focused on the qualifications of the two companies to handle not only the pipeline but the massive gas treatment plan required at Prudhoe Bay. "This is a multi-billion dollar, two to three year, sea-lift type of execution plan larger than anything that has ever been done on the slope in the past and as a fun fact -- virtually every major project that has been delivered on the North Slope of Alaska has been managed by either ConocoPhillips or BP," Fuhr said.    

ADN, by Elizabeth Bluemink (NGP Photo).  The proponents of a multibillion-dollar North Slope gas pipeline got a sobering report Tuesday from a global energy consultant who ticked down the many obstacles to the project's success. Chief among those obstacles is cheaper gas from other places: massive unconventional gas basins in the Lower 48 that are conveniently located next to major metropolitan areas, said the Calgary-based consultant, Gerry Goobie (NGP Photo) of Purvin & Gertz Inc.  "They could eat Arctic gas's lunch. I'm not saying they will, but they could," Goobie told an audience of more than 100 people at the Alaska Oil & Gas Congress, a four-day conference under way this week in downtown Anchorage.  Goobie predicted that the competition among gas suppliers would be "fierce" and that the North Slope project would not succeed unless its costs are tightly controlled. That statement echoed the mantra often repeated by Tony Palmer, a vice president for TransCanada Corp., one of the companies seeking to build a gas pipeline from the North Slope to Alberta.

Mackenzie Pipeline Expensive Non-Project - Parnell and Murkowski Champion OCS - Governor to Keynote Oil and Gas Congress This Afternoon!

14 September 2009 1:28am


This afternoon, Governor Sean Parnell, (NGP Photo-r) will open the four day  Alaska Oil and Gas Congress, Chaired by Dave Harbour, NGP Publisher.  Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin (NGP Photo-l) will deliver tomorrow's Keynote address.  More to come....    *     Alaska Journal of Commerce, by Tim Bradner. Governor Sean Parnell said he is pleased with progress on the pipeline, that he has been told the Denali consortium led by BP and ConocoPhillips will have cost estimates completed by the end of the year, and that ExxonMobil Corp. has aligned itself with TransCanada Corp., which is leading a separate pipeline initiative. The TransCanada/ExxonMobil group expects to have their cost estimates finished by the first quarter of 2010, Parnell said.  On OCS, Parnell said will go to Washington, D.C., to meet with {Interior Secretary Ken} Salazar and congressional leaders to promote leasing. Parnell said he believes Salazar will allow OCS leasing to proceed in a new five-year leasing plan and will allow exploration on existing Alaska OCS leases.  Companies like Shell have spent several billion dollars on leases and preparations for exploration, but have not been able to drill because of litigation, Parnell said.  "We know we can do offshore development right, from an environmental perspective. We've had decades of safe offshore production in Cook Inlet and we know how to do it," Parnell said.


Weekend News Doesn't Wait Until Monday!

13 September 2009 5:23am

Governor Parnell Meets National People's Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo: Does our Mutual Future Portend More Than Fish and Tourism? (Commentary)     *     More on Enstar

Last Chance to Comment on OCS Leasing Before 9-21 Deadline...

NGP Commentary.  Your author drove to the Hilton Anchorage on Saturday to witness a rare event in the great, second floor ballroom.  The leader of the People's Republic of China, National People's Congress, Chairman Wu Bangguo (NGP Photo-r), traveling with an entourage of about 120--plus U.S. State Department Security--spent a diplomatic hour with Alaska's Governor Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) while returning home after his U.S. visit.  (See Our Video.  See People's Daily Online version of the visit.)
But a 'rare event' alone wouldn't pry me away from Saturday morning chores unless--as I hoped--there might be some recognition between the two leaders that Alaska's North Slope Gas needs a home; that the Lower 48 is awash in natural gas, pressuring prices downward; and, that China has been shopping the globe for secure, long-term energy supply sources.
I have no idea whether private discussions of the two leaders broached such subjects.  But we already know that China has an eye on Alaska due to its 2007 AGIA bid via Little Susitna Construction Co.(LSCC).  Three divisions of Sinopec that would have acted in a subcontracting capacity to Little Susitna Construction Company, Inc. are located in populous, Puyang City, Henan, China, about 600 miles Northeast of Shanghai.  
The three ‘divisions’ were represented to have expertise in engineering, oil and gas exploration, LNG, production, transportation and drilling.   My interest of possible energy discussions on behalf of Northern Gas Pipeline readers was supported when the three highest ranking Alaska government executives at the meeting included Commissioner Tom Irwin, Department of Natural Resources, Commissioner Patrick Galvin, Department of Revenue, and Commissioner Larry Hartig, Department of Environmental Conservation.  The Governor's Legislative Director, Gerald Gallagher, formerly of ConocoPhillips, joined the entourage.
During the initial meeting, Chairman Wu, spoke of China's interest in the environment and global warming and quoted admiringly of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as observing that "The earth is the mother of all humankind."  Governor Parnell told the Chairman that, "As Alaskans we want you to know that we do care very much about our environment.  We care very much about jobs for our people.  We are very thankful for investments in Alaska and we welcome the Chinese people to come as investors, as tourists and in any other capacity...."
After the meeting, the Governor said he, "...was pleased that Chairman Wu and his delegation chose to stop over in Alaska for a day to experience the beauty of our state.”   He said that, “China is an important market for Alaska. Chairman Wu and I had a good conversation on topics ranging from renewable energy to natural resources and, of course, Alaska seafood, and tourism opportunities.”
Parnell said that last year Alaska's exports to China were worth $733 million. He noted the operations of six of China’s cargo airlines at Anchorage International Airport, the potential for the state’s visitor industry in years to come, and the joint University of Alaska-China University of Petroleum exchange program.  
With the exchange of olive branches and pleasantries today, the Alaska and China leaders seem to have established a deeper interest in joint diplomatic and trade relationships. 
In Sunday’s Daily News and Alaska Standard, Dan Fagan addressed Alaska’s economic plight.  If Alaska's gas pipeline project and economy are truly at risk due, respectively, to Lower 48 natural gas supply abundance and diminishing Alaska oil and gas revenue and investment, could China indeed become a viable contender for Alaska North Slope gas?  How would that affect the AGIA contract?   Could North Slope gas shipped 4200 miles to Shanghai via LNG from Cook Inlet also provide a Southcentral/Interior Alaska residential gas supply solution?  Did the leaders' environmental invocations precede a logical conclusion that Alaska gas can supplement a major source of China's electric power: coal?   Would a deal involving Alaska natural gas quell U.S. concerns about China's increasing power plant contribution of atmospheric carbon emissions? Wouldn't sale of Alaska Gas to China benefit the huge trade imbalance between the two countries?  
Other questions, like these, may be irrelevant or at least premature and, for sure, too numerous to relate here.  But Alaska's dire economic circumstances add fuel to the fires of all sorts of speculation.  The trick will be to remain cool and logical in the face of growing political rhetoric and public distress about Alaska's deteriorating economic circumstance Brad Keithley, LNG, Alaska, Spending, Taxation, China exports, Photo by Dave Harbourand Southcentral Alaska's energy crisis.    -dh  (Governor's Office Official Photo)    (Note:  Local petroleum industry expert, Brad Keithly (Photo-l), reminds us 
of the EIA's conclusion that, by "...2030, China could be dependent on imports for more than one-third of its total natural gas consumption."   *    Also, see this Edmonton Journal article, by Dina O'Meara.  Peter Voser, the company's new chief executive, said crude from Alberta's oilsands will take a more international role in energy markets as pipelines to the West Coast and Asia-Pacific markets are developed."China has strong growth and needs more energy," Voser told reporters at a business conference at the Spruce Meadows facility Friday.  "The oilsands are actually well placed to take advantage of that.") 

Alaska Journal of Commerce by Tim Bradner.  Enstar Natural Gas Co. officials say the utility is working with a TransCanada Corp. subsidiary to find a way to store gas, an effort that, if successful, could stave off winter-time blackouts.  Enstar President Colleen Starring (NGP Photo-l, with Tim Bradner) said the utility is coordinating with ANR Gas Storage Co., a TransCanada subsidiary, on the development of a possible gas storage facility in Southcentral Alaska region that would help the utility meet peak winter needs.  ... Starring said Enstar also has legal counsel in Washington, D.C., to consider issues with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, if the LNG plant is used for some other purpose than exports, Starring said.  Possibilities being discussed by Enstar and ConocoPhillips include the utility relying on the plant as a gas source in peak supply times, and in the longer term, using the plant to import LNG if regional supplies are lacking. Imports are considered a last resort, Starring said ... Dan Clark, ConocoPhillips' manager of Cook Inlet assets, said his company is investigating several possibilities for the plant, including applying for an extension of the LNG export license, which expires in March 2011.       *     Calgary Herald.   According to Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Peter Voser--this year's keynote speaker at the 19th annual Spruce Meadows Round Table that took place Friday--the world needs a revolutionary shift in how it uses energy and an evolutionary shift in terms of what comprises the energy mix of the future.  ...  If Alberta--or any government whose fortunes are tied to that of the resource cycle--truly wants to break from being hostage to a boom and bust economy, it must come up with a plan that sees both oil and natural gas exported offshore. The worry that once existed--that there wouldn't be enough natural gas to meet domestic needs--has been eliminated as a result of the shale gas revolution.  Embarking on this strategy would require a bold vision embraced by both industry and government, with the government also committing to streamlining the associated regulatory process to avoid the quagmire that is the Mackenzie Valley pipeline and allow for the infrastructure to be put in place.

Halcro Announces for U.S. House ... Opines on Gas Pipeline

11 September 2009 12:57am

9-11-01: LEST WE FORGET!


On Thursday, Andrew Halcro appeared before the Alaska Support Industry Alliance in Anchorage and opined on many local and national issues--including the Alaska gas pipeline (See video below).  He closed by saying, "I will challenge the incumbent and run for Alaska's lone seat in the United States House of Representatives."   See Halcro's personal announcement here.


Following are some of Halcro's musings:




  • On National Debt.  "We are at a crossroads where we are about to burden our children with unsustainable debt."
  • On Employment.  "When we look to the future, we need jobs that are sustainable--good paying jobs in the oil and gas industry, for instance.
  • On Founding Fathers.  "Alexander Hamilton is my favorite.  He grew up fast.  He believed government should establish certainty, set rules and be composed of independent states."
  • On Candidates.  "We need to elect candidates that have sound ideas, not sound bites."
  • On Green Jobs.  "Until you and I can go to the store and buy a wind turbine blade replacement and fuel cells, it's not happening.  Until we diversify the economy, oil and gas is the sector we must absolutely, positively protect."